OSD Controls and Menus

I didn't mention OSD controls on the previous page because they're somewhat interesting on the U3011. Remember that HP stipulated that their ZR30w has no OSD because there's currently no control SoC for it. Well, Dell has one, and they definitely use it and provide an OSD for the U3011. 

First up, the buttons are very understated and are located in the bottom right. The power button glows steady blue when powered, and pulses orange when in standby. What's interesting is that each button is unmarked - the bottom one glows blue when you hover your finger above it about a centimeter away, and tapping on it brings up the OSD and lights the other buttons. The button doesn't depress but doesn't seem capacitive - something optical is going on. Either way, button presses consistently work without issue. By default there's no button press sound (thank goodness), but you can turn one on in the menu if you really need it. 

The quick pop up has presets, brightness and contrast, input source selection, and a menu button for launching the big OSD. It's easy to navigate and just like other Dell OSDs, but with fancy buttons-that-aren't and that cool hover feature. 

There's options inside the sub menus for fill, 16:9, 4:3, aspect-correct, and 1:1 scaling of inputs - everything we want from a panel. In addition, there are the ever important settings for color space clamping - sRGB mode is there alongside AdobeRGB modes which don't clamp the color space. There's also gamma settings and presets for game, standard, and custom color modes. 

Console Gaming and Audio Controls

There's really nothing to complain about with the U3011 OSD other than the audio settings. You can put them in 2.0 audio out mode, something which is absolutely perfect for use with a PS3 or Xbox 360 connected over HDMI.

The problem is that there's no volume adjustment parameter exposed in the menu - it acts like line out undoubtedly because that's what Dell intended it to be used for. It'd be nice to get volume controls in that preset menu beyond being able to select between 2.0 and 5.1. 

That's a pretty nice segue into some discussion about what audio input options the U3011 supports over HDMI. I connected up a PS3 and played GT5 and a copy of Inception, both of which looked excellent and played perfectly. The PS3 saw LPCM 2 channel and 5.1 channel as options, obviously the U3011 doesn't have a hardware decoder onboard. I connected an Xbox 360 over HDMI and did the same, which worked perfectly. No doubt Dell's rationale for not providing volume controls on the OSD is that it's line out, or you'll use it with their speaker bar, but it still would be awesome to get that for when you're using headsets. 

U3011 Hardware Impressions and Specifications Viewing Angles and Color Quality
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  • dimensional - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    This U3011 is large enough to be appropriate for a wall mount. Yet, it seems nobody is asking about the problem with the screws for the mount being way too small and short. Because of the problem, I will need to replace those screws with longer ones just to be able to at least secure the screws most of the way through the holes after installing a thin wall mount onto it. It makes no sense for them to not give you any longer screws so you can mount the huge monitor. Specially after spending a small fortune for the monitor in the first place. Reply
  • ab_ba - Tuesday, February 07, 2012 - link

    The review mentions some speckling on this screen. I have an NEC PA271 but the speckling is too annoying. Can anybody comment if it will be better on this screen, or on the HP ZR30? Reply
  • bjnicholls - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    After reading the reviews for the NEC, HP, and Dell 30" monitors, I decided to give the Dell a try. I currently have an older NEC 3090wqxi that's developing some blotchy gray areas along the upper left edge of the display, and I need a replacement (perhaps letting me get the old NEC repaired if the gray is perhaps a cleanable dust layer).

    I found a price under $1K from Amazon and decided to give the U3011 a shot. It arrived today and as soon as I tuned it on I was disappointed. On my unit, there was an immediately obvious green shift on the left third of the screen, and that color inconsistency didn't improve at all after the display was warmed up. Nor is it affected by switching between the built-in profiles. Looking at a white screen, the Dell's luminosity is also very inconsistent; my old NEC is still dramatically better. I'm just here to weigh in as a professional graphic designer and photographer. If you care about color accuracy don't bother with the Dell U3011. There's a reason it's half the price of the current NEC PA301w. I suspect that a photographer or designer would be better off spending the price of the U3011 on the smaller 27" NEC PA201w.

    Maybe I just got a bad sample, but I very much doubt that the average U3011 is much better and I'm not going to try exchanging it. Despite user reviews and relatively positive articles like this one, I don't believe the Dell U3011 is viable for professional level work. Dell's inclusion of a "calibration" report is really worthless, since it's obviously a spot calibration and doesn't demonstrate any level of consistency for color across the display.
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